Jan 29, 2015
High School Sports Injury Rate Plummets

As high school sports participation continues to rise, injury rates have fallen in the past decade, according to new research. Yet while this data is encouraging, one high school athletic trainer says more information is needed before drawing any conclusions.

The latest numbers come from a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors, led by Dawn Comstock, PhD, of the Columbus (Ohio) Children’s Hospital, looked at injury rates from 100 high schools nationwide in nine different sports–football, wrestling, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ basketball, girls’ volleyball, baseball, and softball–for the 2005-06 academic year. They compared their results to the findings of a 1999 study that used data from the mid-1990s and found that in every sport except girls’ volleyball, the injury rate was cut at least in half.

“While part of the decrease is due to a different definition of injury, we know that sports-related injury rates are decreasing because of rule changes, improvements in protective gear, and in the diagnosis and treatment of injury,” Comstock told the HealthDay News Service. She said scientific advancements and greater awareness in areas like heat illness and concussions are prime examples of these effects.

Jon Almquist, ATC, Athletic Training Program Specialist at Fairfax County (Va.) Schools and Chair of the NATA’s Secondary Schools Committee, says the study’s results are important but cautions against reading too much into them. “We have to look at larger amounts of data before we can make any real claims about a nationwide trend,” he says. “With improvements in athletic training in recent years, hopefully there has been a decrease in injuries. Now there is some evidence of that, but it should be viewed in perspective. It’s one study, and while it’s a great start, there’s still a lot more research to be done.”

The study, “Sports-Related Injuries Among High School Athletes: United States, 2005-06 School Year,” was published in the Sept. 29 issue (Vol. 55) of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. To view the full text, go to: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5538a1.htm.

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